Top Secret: New World Order Notes

Some initial notes on Solarian Games’ 2018 reboot version of Merle M. Rasmussen’s original espionage role-playing game. The basic rules seem a lot like the Cortex System used in Margaret Weis Productions’ games in that the player rolls a handful of polyhedral dice (larger is better) and totals the highest rolls toward a target number.

The core TS:NWO game metric on tasks involves rolling three dice (Attribute + Tradecraft + Asset) aiming for a total 13 or more to succeed. The damage system uses hit points (on hit, roll damage dice per weapon and subtract from health points).

Attributes (Ability Scores): Nerve, Suava, Pulse, Intellect, Relfex.
Tradecraft (Skill Groups): SIGINT, HUMINT, Tech, Combat. Specializations (subskills like forgery, psyops, hacking, etc.) replace the Tradecraft die when used.
Assets (Tools or Situations): Varies (accuracy of a gun, the difficulty of a task, etc.).

Ratings: Weak (1d4), Average (1d6), Healthy (1d8), Robust (1d10), Paragon (1d12).

Burst: When a player rolls the highest number on an attribute die (4 on 1d4, 6 on 1d6, etc.), roll again and add to the result to the total.
Blowback: When a player rolls a natural “1” on an attribute dice, the character suffers a dilemma (i.e. complication, now or in the future).
Background Talents: When a task falls within a character’s background (occupations like actor, criminal, pilot, scientists, etc.), the player can roll the attribute twice and use the higher result (like D&D5e advantage).
Impairments: When a task falls within a character’s impairment (hindrances like color blind, missing leg, paranoia, etc.), the player can roll the attribute twice and use the lower result (like D&D5e disadvantage).


NERVE (like Willpower: mental state, emotions, acting under pressure, resist fear)
SUAVE (like Charisma: social ability, charm, intimidation, seduction, reading people’s emotions, lying)
PULSE (like Strength and Constitution: stamina, health, vitality)
INTELLECT (like Intelligence: logic, reason, learning)
REFLEX (like Dexterity: reaction time, agility, speed)

New characters…
Balanced Array: 1d4, 1d6, 1d6, 1d8, 1d10
Specialized Array: 1d4, 1d4, 1d6, 1d10, 1d12


COMBAT (Physical action, fighting, shooting, athletics)
HUMINT (Human Intelligence, dealing with people, deception)
SIGINT (Signal Intelligence, dealing with codes, analysis)
TECH (Technology, dealing with gadgets, vehicles)

New characters…
COMBAT (same die at REFLEX)
HUMINT (same die as either NERVE or SUAVE)
SIGINT (same die as INTELLECT)
TECH (same die as INTELLECT)

…then choose one Tradecraft as a WEAKNESS, reducing that die (1d4, 1d6, or 1d8 becomes 1d4; 1d10 or 1d12 becomes 1d6).

Tradecraft Specializations

New characters: Choose five. Each one means the die is increased (i.e. Combat 1d8, Driving 1d10).

Combat (Black Bag Ops)
Combat (Climbing)
Combat (Driving)
Combat (Explosives)
Combat (First Aid)
Combat (Guerrilla Tactics)
Combat (Hand To Hand)
Combat (Marksmanship / Weaponry)
Combat (Paramilitary)
Combat (Pilot Watercraft)
Combat (Parachuting)
Combat (Survival)

HUMINT (Asset Handling)
HUMINT (Deception)
HUMINT (Exfiltration/Infiltration)
HUMINT (Illusion/Sleight Of Hand)
HUMINT (Interrogation)
HUMINT (Physical Surveillance)
HUMINT (Soft Skills)
HUMINT (Street Delivery)

SIGINT (Analysis)
SIGINT (Cryptography)
SIGINT (Electronic Communications)
SIGINT (Forgery)
SIGINT (Psyops)

TECH (Electronic Surveillance)
TECH (Forensics)
TECH (Hacking)
TECH (Pilot Aircraft)


Vary by CLEARANCE LEVEL, which is like character level and experience points…
0 to 14 points … 1d4
15 to 29 points … 1d6
30 to 44 points … 1d8
45 to 59 points … 1d10
60 or more points … 1d12

…OR by Difficulty: Easy (1d12), Moderate (1d10), Difficult (1d8), Challenging (1d6), Extraordinary (1d4), Heroic (no die).



* Point Blank (under 4 ft.): accuracy 1d10 / damage 2d12
* Close Range (4-10 ft.): accuracy 1d6 / damage 2d10
* Medium Range (11-75 ft.): accuracy 1d4 / damage 2d8
* Long Range (76-100 ft.): accuracy 0 / damage 2d6